Posted by Mardia Lira
The 40-Day Bible Reading Challenge with Margaret Feinberg. Week 2.
Serving is our calling. Being in ministry, it’s expected and it’s what we know and feel that God has called us to do. Serving God. Serving others. Gifting our time, talent and resources so that others can come to know God.
My husband is the pastor at a growing congregation for Spanish-language speakers in Las Vegas, NV. Along with his obligations to the church, he’s also a musician and is often invited to preach and perform throughout Latin America. I am mother to two beautiful daughters that demand my time, one is almost three, and the other one is eight. I am also leading the Spanish-language women’s group at Central Christian Church. Aside from this, I also cook, clean, do the grocery shopping, run errands, and I serve as a chauffeur when needed… and I lead and write blogs on leadership as part of the Spanish Leading and Loving It site Dirigiendo con Amor In addition to all of this I must seek devotional time with God, something that no one else can do for me. There just isn’t enough hours in a day!
Ministry can be very demanding. Very often we hear about pastors or individuals in ministry that simply get burned-out. Throughout the years, I have heard of many in ministry that end up experiencing a nervous breakdown, divorce, neglecting their children or even worse, losing their faith. That is the last thing that I want for me and my family.
Matthew, Chapter 25 starts off with the parable of the 10 virgins. In Jesus’ story referencing His second coming, there are several things that we can delve into.
The background on the story: 10 Virgins. Five of them were foolish and the other five were wise. The wise virgins were cautious and had additional oil on hand. At the arrival of the bridegroom, the foolish virgins didn’t have enough oil and were forced to ask the wise ones for some of their share. Something happens here that captures my attention. It goes against everything that I have learned about ministry. These 5 young wise women did not share their oil with the 5 foolish women. Had they shared their oil, they themselves would be in a bind. They did point out where more oil could be found, but they did not share their own oil. Without any oil to be found, the time was up for the foolish virgins. At the end of the story, the five foolish young women found themselves shut out.
Ministry is often about serving those that have wasted or squandered their life and are facing the consequence of their bad decisions. You are there to serve them and they seek you when they are in a bind. The phone can ring at midnight when everyone in your house is sound asleep. It can be someone on the line that needs your advise at that precise moment. Or you can get a call when you are picking up your daughter from school. People need you, and they need you now.
Our natural instinct is to help. That is our calling. It’s what we do. But it’s not the only responsibility on our shoulders.
If we are not careful, we will be offering all our oil to others when it’s our family that needs it. If we are not cautious, we can neglect our relationship with God and be left without oil ourselves.
If we end up burned out, without a family, o neglecting our children for serving others in ministry, we would have given away to others the oil that we needed for ourselves.
It may sound cruel, but as women in ministry, as leaders, we must maintain a watchful eye.
Take care of your oil.
Have you neglected your relationship with your family to serving others?
Have you neglected your relations with God for the ministry?
How hard is it for you to say NO?